WILL: Here is what took them so long. When this debate started a year ago, 85 percent of the American people had health insurance and 95 percent of that 85 percent were pretty happy with what they had. Since then, the country has become much more preoccupied with the deficit. Washington is borrowing 42 cents of every dollar it spends. Every day, today, tomorrow and for the next two decades, 10,000 more baby boomers go on the Medicare and Social Security rolls, and they are worried about this. And the president comes along and says, I've got a great idea. Let's have a $1 trillion new entitlement which, by the way, will lower the deficit, which people don't quite believe.
Finally, they've been -- we have all learned lots of new issues in this. For example, why can't we buy insurance across state lines? You turn on television, you see Geico arguing with Allstate on car insurance, arguing with Progressive on car insurance. And the American people say, a caveman can understand this. We should be able to buy in a national market.
DOWD: Do you think they will pass the bill?
WILL: It's only -- the House is all that matters. The Senate passed a bill, it goes to the president. What we know for sure, Matt, is if they had the votes today, they would vote tomorrow morning. So they don't have them yet.
DOWD: Donna? Do you think they can pass the bill? And again, what's took them so long with huge majorities they have in the Senate and the House?
BRAZILE: Well, first of all, it's been 60 years, and we have come a long way in the 60 years. And we're at the finish line. And I think with the speaker now talking to some of the Democrats who opposed it on fiscal grounds, they like the Senate bill because it's smaller. It reduces the deficit by a larger number. I think that the speaker will be able to get the House Democrats to approve the Senate bill, that will allow the Senate to go forward with reconciliation on the small items to fix the bill. We'll get a health care bill sometime within the next couple of months.
DOWD: So in the spring, a health care bill?
BRAZILE: Look, I'm not one to set deadlines. I think it's important that they get it right, that it lowers costs, provide more coverage for those without health insurance. And if they can achieve that, we'll have a bill.
DOWD: Torie, what do you think?
CLARKE: You know, I'm going to keep with the Oscar themes that you've started. Do you guys remember the movie "Ishtar?" Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman. They spent millions and millions and millions of dollars on it, you heard so much about it. And then when people actually started seeing it, they said, this is terrible. And the longer it hangs out there, the harder it is. Politically, Republicans and Democrats are looking to say the best and worst thing that can happen for the Democrats is that they pass this. They pass it, they can say, ah, we got it done after 60 years. And then they have to defend it from now until November. And I think it will be very tough to defend a lot of the things inside that bill.
DOWD: Well, Robert, do you think this is a political problem for them? They haven't been able to talk about jobs. Or do you think once they have passed this bill, they can quickly turn to jobs and the economy, which is what the American public seems to care about?